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  Entomology (from Greek entomon, ‘cut up’, ‘segmented’ + ology) is the biological study of insects, by far the most numerous and most widespread class of animals. Aristotle was an early entomologist, noting that the body of an insect is divided into three segments. The Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi revived interest in entomology at the beginning of the 17th century, further stimulated by the advent of the microscope which was immediately put to use by entomologists. In the 17th century, Marcello Malpighi, one of the first microscopists, carried out pioneering investigations of insect neuroanatomy and Jan Swammerdam described the microscopic anatomy and life histories of a great range of insects and attempted to classify them. Modern entomology continues to involve a large amount of traditional taxonomy as new species are described continuously. Pest biology is an important area of entomology since many important pests are insects (for example, aphids) and many insects are important biological control agents (for example, ladybirds eat aphids). Many insect groups undergo metamorphosis between larval and adult stages (for example, caterpillar to butterfly) and are thus of great interest in developmental biology. RB

See also anatomy; biological control; sociobiology.



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